Rolls-Royce has celebrated 50 years since it delivered the first azimuth thruster. Today, the product range is one of the Group’s most successful marine products, powering and positioning some of the world’s largest floating structures.
Azimuthing thrusters rotate through 360 degrees, providing propulsion and maneuverability, without the need for a rudder.
At an event in Rauma, Finland, John Rishton, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce and Mikael Makinen, President – Marine, Rolls-Royce, joined employees to mark the occasion.
John Rishton said: “Today marks a hugely significant milestone for our Marine business and particularly the team here in Rauma, our centre of excellence for large thruster production.
“Our customers operate in some of the most demanding conditions on the planet, and need not only high power, but consistently reliable power, and that’s exactly what these thrusters deliver.”
Mikael Makinen, added: “This is a proud day for our business. From its early inception as a steerable propeller, the Rolls-Royce azimuth thruster range has developed into a world-leading portfolio today, providing high power for drillships, semi-submersible rigs and other vessels including tugs, icebreakers and offshore support vessels.
“Renowned for robust engineering and high reliability, our large azimuth thrusters are built to last. Often operating for five years at a time without any major maintenance, their success can be attributed to the expertise of our design and production teams, and decades of operating experience.”
The Pioneering Spirit, the world’s largest construction vessel, will be powered by 12 Rolls-Royce azimuth thrusters, when it enters service on decommissioning duties in the North Sea, later this year.
In a separate announcement, Rolly-Royce said they plan to accelerate cost reduction programmes in their Marine business and reduce the number of employees by a further 600 by the end of this year in response to challenging market conditions.
The announcement followed ther Interim Management Statement on May 8th in which Rolls-Royce confirmed that the year had started slowly and consequently a drive for further efficiencies is underway. The Marine business employs around 6,000 people in 34 countries, and while the reductions will be global, around half will be in Norway, where the majority of employees and manufacturing facilities are located.